Ireland uses 50 megawatts less power for 'Earth Hour'


'Earth Hour' in Ireland is being heralded as a success after analysis released by EirGrid shows a reduction in electricity use of about 1.5%.

Eirgrid, which runs the national grid, said that the reduction - 50 megawatts of power - was enough to run 30,000 homes and would cost customers 150,000.

Earth hour 2008 is a global campaign to get homes and businesses around the world to reduce their electricity use and turn off non-essential lights between 8pm and 9pm onMarch 29th, to raise awareness about climate change (Click Here).

Some of Dublin's landmark buildings - including the Customs House, Four Courts, Aras an Uachtarain and Leinster House - were plunged into darkness as the lights-out order went through at 8pm on Saturday. Patrons in the Four Seasons restaurant also dined by candlelight to mark Earth Hour.

More than two dozen cities and 300 towns across the globe joined the movement, which asked that all non-essential lights be turned off for an hour to highlight inefficient energy use.

Cities across Australia took part in Earth Hour 2008, with iconic buildings - including Sydney's Opera House and Harbour Bridge to Melbourne's Flinders Street station - switching their lights off at 8pm local time.

In Canada, the 553-metre CN Tower in Toronto and the surrounding skyline were plunged into temporary darkness. In the United States, landmarks such as San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Chicago's Sears Tower went dark in the closing hours of the event.

In Bangkok, Earth Hour saved 73.3 megawatts of electricity, The lights were switched-off on six main roads and three of the city's landmarks were also left in darkness - including the Temple of Dawn, the Rama VIII bridge and Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

In the southern New Zealand city Christchurch, energy distribution company Orion said power consumption dropped 12.8 percent during Earth Hour.

In Britain, The Prince of Wales' residence in Gloucestershire, Highgrove House, and Winchester Cathedral were among those plunged into darkness as part of Earth Hour.

As well as Dublin City Council, Galway and Limerick City Councils - together with 15 town and county councils around the country - gave their support to the initiative, but organisers said that more businesses could have got involved.

Activists gathered outside the Customs House and cheered as the lights went out - but next door, the lights in offices of banks and brokerages in the IFSC blazed away, illuminating floor after empty floor of desks and idling computers.

Lights underneath bridges across the River Liffey in Dublin were turned-off, with civil servants told to turn off their office lights and shut down computers when they left work on Friday night.

"I'm delighted with the response" - Campaign Organiser for Earth Hour Ireland, Cathy Flanagan said. "A 1.5pc reduction in use of power is a considerable achievement. In a campaign like this, there's no such thing as an effort too small. We can all do what we can to tackle climate change.

"Just by switching-off all non-essential lights, we can help make a difference. The lasting impact of EH's success is not just what happened for one hour on Saturday night, it's what we in Ireland do next to save energy and water, minimise waste and maximise recycling. Small steps add up. Those who supported Earth Hour should clap themselves on the shoulder for making it such a big hit."